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Freelance Writing - BWR102

Many professional writers start out by freelancing.

This course shows you not only how to write, but also what to write, and how to go about selling your work. Ten lessons cover everything from good grammar, to planning and writing newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, books and more. Emphasis is placed on things which are important to publishers who might buy your work. Tutors concentrate on your ability to properly structure an article, and to be both concise and clear in your use of words.

Graduates of this course should:
  • Have improved communication skills, particularly with respect to clarity, conciseness and correct grammar.
  • Be familiar with the "writing industry"; having a clear idea of where opportunities exist for obtaining work as a freelance writer.
  • How to go about approaching potential clients to obtain work.
  • Have an understanding of the processes involved in publishing books, magazines and newspapers; from generating concepts to seeing the finished publication on sale.


    Course Structure

    Ten lessons as follows:

    1. Introduction 2. Basic Writing Skills
    3. The Publishing World 4. Manuscripts
    5. Planning 6. Newspaper Writing
    7. Magazine Writing 8. Writing books
    9. Writing advertizing 10. Special project


    • Discuss the nature and scope of freelance writing.
    • Evaluate your basic writing skills and identify deficiencies needing attention in order to be successful at freelance writing.
    • Develop a concept for freelance writing which has potential for selling.
    • Identify commercial opportunities to sell writing to publishers.
    • Describe the preparation of a manuscript for submission to a publisher
    • Write commercially viable items for publishing in a newspaper.
    • Write commercially viable items for publishing in a magazine.
    • Plan for production of a commercially viable book manuscript.
    • Write commercially viable advertising.
    • Apply all skills and knowledge so far developed to the production of a complete manuscript.

    Duration: 100 hours

    Recommended Reading: "Professional Writing" -a book by our principal, John Mason. click for details

    Who Should You Look to Publish with?

    The first thing to consider, is how fast the publishing industry is changing. Some publishers will treat you well, others will not. There is of course a third option too: to publish yourself.

    Publishers are attempting to find ways to strengthen their "assets" in the publishing industry. Every publisher is approaching it differently. They all know one thing for sure; that there is increasing vulnerability for their position in the publishing industry. They know that market shares are changing.

    In the past, a publishers assets were it's contracts with authors, it's distribution network, and it's capacity to take the authors work, package the product and deliver it through the distribution network.

    Today, the traditional distribution networks are falling apart, which weakens the publishers ability to offer writers some sort of meaningful reason to remain loyal to them.

    Technology is offering authors the possibility of doing their own publishing and distribution easier than before -which weakens even more what publishers can offer to authors.

    The bottom line is in a contract between a publisher an author; the publisher's bargaining power is decreasing rapidly.

    I think some publishers are attacking this problem by building new things they can offer the authors....strengthening their capacity to distribute electronic publications, strengthening their capacity to produce electronic layouts.... increasing their web presence, etc. This approach will in due course see publishers emerge who can offer authors something they cannot do for themselves.

    Some seem to be taking another line .... My guess is they are taking a punt that most writers are unsettled by the rapid changes in the publishing industry, and that "unsettled" environment gives them a window of opportunity to lock people into contracts exploiting the independent writers ignorance of what is happening in the industry. This big stick approach may give some publishers a short term advantage that helps them ride the storm.

    If established writers don't accept exploitative contracts; they will find others who will.

    The big stick approach may help a publisher short term; but long term, those publishers could be shown to be short sighted.

    The more enlightened approach of trying to adapt to the changes, may be costly in the short term; and cash flow could be an issue for those with tight liquidity; but long term, these publishers could end up with a far more sustainable business.


    Student Profile


    In 2006 we received an email from Jaquii Eyley, a student in our Freelance Writing course. She wrote, "This course has just helped me get a job as a proof reader!" So we asked her to tell us about her new job.

    "At last I have found my dream job! I have read so many books on finding the perfect career, and then, advertised in the local paper, in between 'cleaner available' and 'care assistants wanted' was my job, 'proof reader required'. The work was for a national newspaper and they were looking for someone with a high level of literacy, an interest in farming and an eye for detail. In addition to my Freelance Writing course with ACS, I have a degree in law, a small holding, and I can pick nits till the cows come home; perfect! I couldn't believe my luck; someone was actually going to pay me to read the newspaper. The work was part time and so flexible I could even bring it home with me. My imagination worked overtime; I was already laid back in my hammock casually marking out mistakes with a glass of something cold and fizzy by my side."

    "Of course in reality it is nothing like that; proof reading requires intense concentration and the ability to read very fast while picking out a variety of errors. The newspaper is a farming publication and while many articles are interesting, the technical subjects are hard work. One thing the job has taught me though, is that some writers are a lot better than others. If you know your subject well and are reliable, just about anyone can get published"


    How the payment Options Work


    You can be either pay fees in one or two parts:

    • If paying in 2 parts, the first part is paid on enrolment, and the second part two months later (You are sent a bill when you enrol).
    • If you pay the full fee on enrolment, we offer a discounted fee (commonly around 8% lower)

Introducing Some of our Staff

John L. Mason Dip.Hort.Sc., Sup'n Cert., FIOH, FPLA, MAIH, MACHPER, MASA

Mr Mason has had worked as a professional Editor. He has over 40 years experience in the fields of Publishing, Education, Horticulture, Recreation and Journalism. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. He has held positions ranging from Director of Parks and Recreation (City of Essendon) to magazine editor. He is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia)

John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over thirty five books and of over two thousand magazine articles. Even today, John continues to write books for various publishers including Simon and Shuster, and Landlinks Press (CSIRO Publishing).

Maggi Brown
Maggi is regarded as an expert in Organic Growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer and Editor at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more them three decades. She now works as a freelance editor and proof reader, as well as a tutor for ACS

Tracey Jones - Academic Officer & Tutor (U.K.)
B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies). Tracey has around 15 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.
She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written several books and has had several short stories published. She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Rosemary Davies Dip Hort Sc. Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening inVictoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others.

Why Choose This Course

  • Course notes and materials are unique (written by our staff) and up to date (most revised annually) –our graduates are more up to date with what they learn than many other institutions.
  • We don’t just present you with information; we also work to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field.
  • Start any time, study at your own pace, study from anywhere
  • Don’t waste time and money traveling to and from classes
  • More choices in your assignment work –courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you.
  • Tutors more accessible than many colleges – academics are hard at work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day, and answering individual queries from students are top priority and always attended to within a day –often within an hour.
  • Be treated like an individual –don’t get lost in a crowd of other students. Our tutors interact with you one to one.
  • Extra help at no extra cost where needed.. If you find a task you can’t do, we will help you through it or give you another option.
  • Support after graduation –We will advise on getting work, starting a business, putting a CV together. We will promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Any graduate who asks will be helped.

How You Study

  • When you enroll, we send you an email that explains it all.
  • You are given a short orientation video to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
  • You are either given access to your course online, or sent a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
  • You work through lessons one by one. Each lesson has at least four parts:
    • An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
    • Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
    • Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
    • Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
    • Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
  • You are given access to and encouraged to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
  • You are provided with a "student manual" which you can refer to if and when needed. It provides a quick solution to most problems that might occur (some people never need to use this; but if you are studying late at night & have a problem, the manual provides a first port of call that can often get you moving again).


  • ACS is known and highly respected internationally: by employers and academics alike:
  • Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
  • ACS has been training people around the world since 1979
  • Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
  • Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
  • A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.



Staff at the school have written ebooks to complement this course.

These have been developed by our principal, and widely published author for over 30 years.

John Mason and Staff of ACS Distance Education have created stand alone texts that are a valuable reference, whether you study this course or not.

You can see an outines, download some sample pages and if you wish, purchase a book at

Enrol Now!

Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $748.00  1 x $680.00
B 2 x $407.00  2 x $370.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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